Reminder that I didn't get into a phd program because I'm extra smart - it's because I came to university with some money. That means I don't have to work in summer vacations, so I can hang around the university doing internships and projects even though I didn't win funding. That means next summer I'm more likely to get a paid research internship. And two summer research projects on my CV "shows enthusiasm", commitment, and experience and is probably the deciding factor in getting in.
Fediscience is the social network for scientists.